Tuesday morning we said goodbye to the B family and headed north. Destination: McGuire AFB near Trenton, NJ. Around Baltimore we were already needing a potty stop, but it worked out well, because Ted saw signs for Ft. McHenry! We decided to take an unplanned side trip and spent a couple of hours touring this site, which was extra special since we had seen the ACTUAL Star-Spangled Banner at the Smithsonian the day before.
We watched a short video about what got the U.S. involved in the War of 1812, which was good, because my knowledge of that whole situation was pretty sketchy! In a nutshell (for those who need a refresher), the Brits were fighting the French (remember Napoleon?), and they kept boarding our ships and confiscating items so as not to allow our stuff to be taken by the enemy. Hmmm. Seeing as how our rebel spirit had just won our nation's independence, no wonder we joined the fight! At the very end of the video, the curtain that was at the side of the room drew back, revealing a wall of windows facing the fort, where our current American flag is flying. A small sign signaled that we should stand, and we heard a beautiful, a cappella men's chorus singing the National Anthem. It was one of the most thrilling, patriotic moments I've ever experienced!
We walked up to the fort and got to explore all around it and inside some of the buildings. The kids really enjoyed this stop, especially the boys. (If you view the photos on Facebook, look for the boys with their muskets!) We were so glad we saw the signs and decided to stop, as it really was a fantastic experience for everyone. Before hitting the road again, we ate our picnic lunch there.
Then it was back in the Suburban for what seemed like a very long time, even though we were expecting the drive to only be a couple of hours. As it turned out, Google gave us directions to...the airstrip at McGuire AFB, trying to route us directly through Ft. Dix in the process! We were thoroughly confused and finally ended up asking a guard at the Ft. Dix checkpoint how to get where we needed to go. When Ted viewed the maps later, we discovered that what should have taken us 15 minutes from our exit off the freeway actually took closer to an hour. So, as you can imagine, we were rather tired and grumpy by the time we arrived, and I still had to get groceries at the commissary! We may very well have ended up ordering pizza instead, except for the fact that we had the brilliant idea to have Ted get his haircut while I got groceries, thereby saving him a trip to base once we got home. It actually worked out pretty well. I bought frozen pizzas for us to eat for dinner, plus sandwich supplies, fruit, chips, etc. for the next couple of days.
The kids were pretty rambunctious by the time we got back to the TLF. I ended up going to sleep before some of the kids, as I had a sinus headache and nose difficulties and was feeling wiped out (ha! no pun intended! Gross, LOL!). Thankfully I felt quite a bit better this morning after a good night's sleep!
Before I sign off, just a note...when planning a road trip that involves these small, New England states, be sure to budget for TOLL ROADS!!! Holy cow!! $4 here, $5 there...and we thought $2 was bad at the first stop!! So far on this trip we have paid $16 for TOLL ROADS!!!